Cover Image: Showtime


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Member Reviews

When I started reading this book I didn’t know where it would take me, the MC was with his mother, cleaning his grandparents house, and I did feel lots of ill feelings towards the parents, there’s a lot of unsaid things and bad things that happened in the MC childhood and his grandparents house was always his safe heaven, that is until a certain day when all changed… but even then he could always feel the love his grandfather had for him… when he approach the thing his grandfather left for him after he “kicked the bucket” we learn that is an old desk… when he was small this was magical, but with time he start looking that it was only a desk, but it’s in this part when things start to get bizarre, kind of twilight zone strange, and he find some VCR tapes that make him travel to the past, or is it? Maybe it is also a mix with the 1982 poltergeist movie, the book cover have some resemblances…

Actually I didn’t like Jordan that much (he is our main character), I felt he was too whinny and entitled, it is not because your parents were shitty with you, that you need to say, that is the reason for witch I am not successfully (use the example of people that suffered in childhood but rised above that, like Johnny Deep). I did like the idea of using old technology (The VCR tapes) to travel to the past and connecting with people that are no longer among us… I wanted more of the grandfather and grandmother.

Without spoilers, I must say that is a good book to pass some time, there’s more than one side to every situation and if you want to know more I would advice you to grab your copy and start reading.

Thank you NetGalley and Inkshares for the free ARC and this is my honest opinion.

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Showtime is a debut novel that centers itself around deep and realistic characters. Suspenseful time travel theme which is based initially on saving a life. Complex story that keeps one questioning motives and wondering if there will be forgiveness. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this novel for an honest review.

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I requested this one because it might be an upcoming title I would like to review on my Youtube Channel. However, after reading the first several chapters I have determined that this book does not suit my tastes. So I decided to DNF this one.

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*3 1/2 stars*

Wow what a rollercoaster of a book!

Jordan is unhappy and struggling through life. After the death of his grandma at a popular TV show recording ten years ago, he lost his big support system and suffered childhood trauma. Now, as he cleans out his recently deceased grandpa’s house, he is gifted old VCR tape recordings of the shows his grandma went to. It is not long before he realizes the tapes allow you to travel to the past and he can save his grandma from her fate.

Overall, there are quite a few things I liked about this book. The concept is great. I found myself really connected to Jordan’s struggles and his grief/guilt over what happened years ago. This becomes a story of redemption for him. If you could change or stop a catastrophic event that killed people you loved, wouldn’t you try to change history?

It was also great character development with the main antagonist, Matt. Rather than just leaving the killer vague or generic, the author really took the time to develop him. He created a true monster, someone void of normal human emotion and who manipulates weak people to his bidding.

Overall, I liked this book but what fell flat for me was the ending. This book is almost 400 pages and it took forever for the climax to happen. And then what happens is a little unsatisfying. I understand where he was going with it. It’s a lot of themes on forgiveness and accepting that some parts of the past can’t be changed. I was just hoping for a big climatic showdown and it didn’t really happen. I think it’s still a good book and I can see a lot of people enjoying this one.

Thank you to Netgalley for the digital ARC of this.

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Ricky Ruszin's debut novel has it all: great (flawed) characters, deep psychological insight, a complex story, and more than a nod to all those exciting time-travel yarns of old. However, it mostly takes place in the 2010s, providing, in addition, an interesting view of the talent shows that have been so popular since the turn of the millenium. It's a really well done, yet emotionally difficult read, since it covers from all possible angles a seriously upsetting case of mass killing: the infamous (and fictitious, thank heavens) massacre that took place on a nationally-televised talent show, almost ten years before the story begins. Jordan Jones, the bitter and unlucky college student who never overcame losing his beloved grandmother in that event, stumbles on a way to intervene and save her, and perhaps even stop the deadly outcome altogether. Sam, his cousin, a self-doubting 30 year old woman, gets involved and the plot gets more and more complicated. By the second half of the book, we have learnt that the gruesome mass killing is the work of Matt Mason, a textbook psychopath; yet his character stands out for its depth and detailed understanding, because Ruszin chose not to distill him down into a caricature, easily put in a box - as most such characters are in similar books. That for me made for some fascinating reading. But it is the character of the rejected show contestant Charity that really develops during the story, and in diverse and very challenging ways. Still, a lot of times the book had me questioning the protagonists' actions, both theirs and the show runners' utterly naive understanding of security issues in an event of this magnitude; which, I guess, explains the kind of ending Ruszin went for. Nevertheless, this is a minor quibble when one realizes how phenomenal the author is at controlling his story. To sum up, this is a top notch read and highly recommended.

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I really enjoyed this very entertaining read! It reminded me of an episode of The Twilight Zone or similar anthology series. The idea of being able to use an old TV and VCR tapes to travel to the past was outstanding! I loved how Sam and Jordan became closer as the story progressed. The ending was very moving.

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I really liked the sound of this book. However, when I started reading it, I just couldn't get into it
. I really struggled to connect with the characters, and just didn't like it. Sorry.

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A young man goes through his recently deceased grandparents things when he discovers a set of VHS tapes that seem to portal him through time.

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I really looked forward to reading this book, but I was quite disappointed after finishing it.
The story wasn't bad itself, it was just executed badly, the author picked two popular concepts, namely: time travel and terrorist attacks, and just mixed them, you could tell how much research was needed for it to make any sense, and I'm not talking about sense as in science, I mean sense as there would be links between every thing, it truly felt as if the book was written in chunks without rereading where you left it.
Unfortunately, wasn't a fan.
*I received an ARC of this book through netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

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Holy crap this was like The Ring meets The Grudge meets a college slasher flick. I was totally hooked and couldn't put this one down. Perfect read for the weekend, late spooky nights curled up outside next to the fire...

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Thank you to Netgalley for the RAC.

Time travel is SUCH a tough subject for one's novel - and that isn't some pretentious "only the smart can write time travel", but instead an indication of how complex, convoluted, and chaotic time travel stories are.. The enjoyment of Time Travel stories can vary from reader to reader as they latch on to specific concepts or story beats, i.e. free will and determinism, causality loops, paradoxes - all of these resonate differently with the reader.

It seems that this book, Showtime, is Ricky Ruszin's first novel, and I commend his bravery for writing a time travel story for his first published novel.

As for the novel itself, I admit I was initially turned-off by the Protagonist (Jordan) - his anger and attitude was very off-putting and felt too much a set-up for his character growth. I took to Sam much more, to the point where I wonder what the story would be with the two 'switched' in the narrative.

I would have also liked to have seen a bit more of Granny, and especially more of Pop - not necessarily bringing them to the status of main characters, but both Jordan and Sam had such a connection to their grandmother that I felt the latter lacked agency in the story. Pop, himself, could certainly have played a larger role.

Additionally, I don't think I needed the other POVs the novel gives (avoiding spoilers), and the ideas within these chapters could have been implied and/or given by the other interactions with said characters - perhaps we could have seen Pop's POV instead.

So why did I rate this 4 stars?

First, I bought the connection between Sam + Jordan, them and their Grandma, and the connection between the two other POVs I mentioned earlier. They all felt like real people, despite the latter two being a bit unnecessary for the larger picture.

Second, I really enjoyed the novelty of a time travel story combining two rarely-seen things: TV/VCR as the travel method and a Reality/Contest show as the setting. It delivered an interesting mix that got me out of the standard Sci-Fi you usually see with Time Travel.

Finally, I can tell the author liked Lost due to a specific reference, so that's always a plus.

Showtime is a fast, easy read with a unique time travel method and I hope Ricky Ruszin's next book is as unique of a mix.

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2 stars

Not great. The concept is good but the execution is off. I struggled quite a bit, almost DFN, but I wanted to see how it played out. I suspect after edit it will be better.

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I just could not get into this story. The writing was odd, it needs a lot of editing, and I couldn't get into the story. Not my cup of tea, unfortunately.

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